Friday, October 22, 2010

Catching my breath

For the next nine weeks or so I'll have a regular feature on Today was my first post in the Forgotten Brewers series, so check it out.

Since the Brewers season ended, I've posted exactly once. It's like the episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta where Kim decides to start exercising so she will look better when she performs "Tardy for the Party" at the White Party. After jogging and walking for what seems like less than a mile, she and her assistant spot a beer truck across four lanes of traffic. They dodge traffic and catch the beer truck before it leaves the liquor store. The pair then stops exercising in favor of drinking a few beers while sitting on the bench in front of the liquor store.

I jogged through the season but then I needed to take a little break.

Hopefully I will have a regular posting schedule soon.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Waiting for Superman

The playoffs stared today. And Waiting for Manager opened in a theatre near you.

After sending me word that three University of Wisconsin students had been fined $86,000 for having a house party (really, this happened in Wisconsin?), my co-worker’s husband sent me a picture of Cubs announcer Bob Brenly.

Why would anyone send me a photo of this douche bag? I looked at the Journal Sentinel sports page. I looked at the front page of Nothing about Brenly.

Then I got the link. Sources say that Brenly will be the new Brewers manager. WHAT? How could this be possible? This is a man who heaped criticism on the Brewers and famously suggested that Ryan Braun would have additional problems with his rib muscles if he continued to act like he did after hitting a home run against the Cubs.

I freaked out. How could Doug Melvin do this? I might have thrown my pencil across the room. I was eyeing my stapler when I went back to and visited the comments section. People were abuzz with the rumor. I needed to know that it would be OK before I hurled the stapler at my book shelves. Another poster suggested that I calm down and that Brenly was denying meeting with the Brewers. I sipped water slowly from a coffee mug as I tried to calm down.

A few minutes later came news that Melvin had not offered the job to Brenly and was a “bit incredulous” about the rumor.

I don’t remember being this fired up about anything in awhile. The movie Waiting for Superman gets its title from a Harlem educator’s childhood belief that Superman would rescue him (and fix the problems of the ghetto). I guess I’m waiting for Superman, too. I want a new manger to swoop in and rescue the Brewers from a losing record. I want this manager to lead the Brewers to the post-season. (No need to achieve these feats in tights and a cape. This sort of fashion statement should be left to Rick Peterson.)

Bob Brenly is no Superman. Admittedly, I know that no manager is going to come in and do the things I want without some starting pitching but I feel relieved--for now--or at least until Melvin interviews Juan Samuel.   

Sunday, October 3, 2010

2010-a barrel of fun

The Brewers wrapped up the 2010 season today with a 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Randy Wolf had a decent outing going seven innings and giving up the three runs on nine hits and one walk. Milwaukee fell behind early but tied the game at two on a double by Corey Hart in the third inning. Jay Bruce untied the game with a fourth inning home run. And that’s it. The Brewers didn’t give up any additional runs but were unable to score any either. Milwaukee’s best chance to score came in the seventh inning when Hart tried to steal home. He was nearly hit by Aroldis Chapman’s pitch and was easily tagged out by Corky Miller.

And then it was over. All over. As in no more games this year over.

Milwaukee finished the year at 77-85,and in third place in the NL Central. Despite my frequent writing and wishing to the contrary, the Brewers were never really in contention this year. Trevor Hoffman blew five of his first ten attempts before he was extricated from the closer role. There was also that little matter of losing nine in a row in May that sunk the 2010 ship.

Thank you for reading (Mom)! For now I am out of things to compare the games to. To recap, I’ve compared either the game or the Brewers to the U.S. men’s soccer team; the TV show Mall Cops; my favorite cashier at the grocery store; cheap foamy beer; a pee cup; drinking all day; Walgreen’s; Jersey Shore--at least twice; my softball team; parenthood; the Harlem Globetrotters; The Tell-Tale Heart; Smirnoff Wild Grape; Mariah Carey; and Natural Dog magazine. Well, Natural Dog was about a member of the Reds...

Reds 3, Brewers 2
Game played 10-3-10

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Game No. 161

Did you know that there is a magazine called Natural Dog? It claims to be the complete guide to holistic dog care. I discovered this while at Borders today. I was reading about Jennifer Grey’s comeback while my husband shopped for a new book to read.
Corky Miller

I bring this up because the Brewers lost today when Corky Miller hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to break open a close game. It was Miller’s second home run of 2010 and the eleventh of his nine-year major league career. (To be fair, Miller has never been a full time catcher in the big leagues. He appeared in 31 games for Cincinnati this year with 77 plate appearances. Miller appeared in 39 games in 2002 for his most in a major league uniform.)

As they did on Friday night, the Brewers fell behind early against the Reds on Saturday afternoon. Chris Capuano was not sharp and gave up three runs on ten hits in 3.2 innings. He was relieved by Brandon Kintzler, who gave up a controversial home run to Jay Bruce in the fifth inning. The home run put the Brewers in a 4-1 hole. Bruce hit a long fly ball to center field that Lorenzo Cain had a beat on, but a fan appeared to reach over the fence (with his own glove) and hit Cain’s glove and bring the ball with him over the fence. The umpires reviewed the play and determined that it was a home run. Rock rarely argues with the umpires’ calls but he nearly jumped out of the booth over this ruling. It looked like Cain would have caught the ball, but even if he missed it, it would not have left the park. Not that I’m biased.

Milwaukee rallied in the seventh inning when Ryan Braun was hit by a pitch, Prince Fielder walked and Casey McGehee homered to left field. The Reds took the lead back in the bottom half of the inning and essentially clinched it on Miller’s home run off of Todd Coffey. Not that the Brewers didn’t have their chances but they would finish just 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.

One more game to go! With his fifth inning double, Ryan Braun stands at 188 hits. He needs just 12 tomorrow to finish the year with 200.

Reds 7, Brewers 4
Game played 10-2-10

What about how the Brewers were able to come back tonight and really battle and eventually beat the Reds in 11 innings?

At the conclusion of the Brewers come-from-behind, extra-innings win against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night, Telly Hughes dropped one of his “what about how” questions on Casey McGehee. These are not really questions at all but rather statements that Telly would like the player to agree with and possibly expand upon.

“What about how you guys are just battling every at bat—this is game 160 and guys are still going up there and just giving it their all?” Telly asked/stated.

A befuddled look came over Casey’s face as he tried to find the question in that “question” and then determine whether Telly was really saying that he found it surprising—and great—that the Brewers were still trying at this point in the season. “I mean it’s still … You know it’s still a reflection of our team and, umm, what kind of character we have on our team and we’re going to keep doing it for the next two days and umm try to leave a good taste in our mouth for the off season,” Casey responded.

What about how Mark Rogers was able to pitch tonight? The rookie got his second end-of-the-year start and went five innings giving up two runs on two hits and one walk. He struck out six.  Rogers did not allow a hit until Jonny Gomes singled to center with one out in the fifth inning. (The run in the first inning came on a walk, stolen base, ground out and sac fly.) It was the first hit off of Rogers in 9.1 innings.

What about how Rickie Weeks was able to break up Travis Wood’s no hitter in the sixth inning? Entering the sixth inning, Wood had given up only a walk to Prince and hit Weeks with a pitch. With one out in the sixth inning, Weeks launched a shot to dead center to end the no-hit and shutout bids simultaneously. It was Weeks’ 29th home run of the year.

What about how the Brewers were able to come back against the NL Central champs? Cincinnati built leads of 2-0 and 3-1 before Milwaukee tied the game at three in the seventh inning. What? They were still battling? Someone better tell Telly. The rally started with a one-out double by McGehee. Lorenzo Cain and Craig Counsell followed with singles. The tying run scored on a sac fly from Jonathan Lucroy.

What about how the pitching staff held the potent Reds offense in check while the Brewers plated a run? After Jeremy Jeffress gave up one run in the sixth inning, the Brewers bullpen shut down the Reds. Todd Coffey gave up just a walk in the seventh, Kam Loe gave up two hits in the eighth and ninth innings, Mike McClendon pitched a perfect tenth inning and John Axford, always up for making a save an adventure, pitched around a single and walk to earn his 24th save of the year.

The Brewers got the go-ahead run in the top of the eleventh inning when Corey Hart singled and Ryan Braun walked to start the inning. Prince hit a fly ball that allowed Hart to advance to third. McGehee followed with a ground ball up the middle that looked to be a double play ball but gold-glover Brandon Phillips was unable to come up with the ball and everyone was safe. It scored Hart. It was originally scored as an error for Phillips but was then changed to a hit.

What about how the Brewers were able to win that game!

Brewers 4, Reds 3
Gamed played 10-1-10

Friday, October 1, 2010

Brewers take three of four from Mets

About a month and a half ago, I thought we should keep Yovanni Gallardo but otherwise gut the entire starting rotation. I had even come to terms with the idea of trading Prince Fielder and/or Corey Hart to get that pitching. (I know, I was slow to come on board with this whole idea of a Prince trade—it’s not that I didn’t/don’t think we should do it, it’s that I like Prince and have a hard time with change. I had to change my mindset: A winning Brewers team without Prince is better than a losing team with Prince. And he’s almost certainly gone after 2011 anyway …) 

Since that time, it FEELS like the pitching has been better, and the numbers reflect that. (See below for month-by-month breakdown. See also Disciples of Uecker analysis. Jack Moore’s pinky finger knows more about stats than I do. You should read it.)  

April       5.16 ERA; 1.54 WHIP; 33 HR; 206 IP
May       5.53 ERA; 1.71 WHIP; 22 HR; 249 IP
June      3.93 ERA; 1.33 WHIP; 23 HR; 240.1 IP
July        5.22 ERA; 1.45 WHIP; 37 HR; 236 IP
Aug        4.77 ERA; 1.45 WHIP; 37 HR; 243.1 IP
Sept       2.96 ERA; 1.13 WHIP; 17 HR; 237.1 IP

The pitching in September has been much better than during any other time during the season. I don’t think that this should deter Doug Melvin, however, from pursuing pitching with gusto in the off-season but I do hope that it prevents him from signing another pitcher like Doug Davis. Desperation never leads to good results. (Plus, a lot of the pitching has been against September call-ups.)

Chris Narveson capped off a strong September team pitching performance by giving up just one run in 6.2 innings of work on Thursday night. His outing dropped his ERA to 4.99 for the season.  Meanwhile, several Brewers hit individual milestones as the offense cranked out nine runs. The score stood at just 4-2 entering the ninth inning but Corey Hart would get his 100th RBI, Casey McGehee would get his 100th RBI, Ryan Braun would score his 100th run and Prince Fielder would get his 110th walk (to match his club record from 2009)—all in the ninth inning. 

Brewers 9, Mets 2
Game played 9-30-10

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Don’t look now, kids, but we’re back in third place

The Brewers took a pair of games from the New York Mets on Wednesday in contrasting fashion. Milwaukee won game one of the double header in a slug fest, 8-7, and game two in a pitcher’s duel, 3-1.

The Brewers built a seemingly insurmountable six-run lead in the third inning of the first game, but ace Yovani Gallardo couldn’t hold the lead. The Mets came back with two runs in the bottom of the third inning and FIVE in the fourth to take a 7-6 lead. All seven runs were charged to Gallardo, who saw his ERA balloon to 3.84 in his last game of the season. Manny Parra relieved Gallardo and pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless ball to keep the Brewers within a run. Parra has not given up a run since August 22, a seven-run debacle against San Diego, in 12.2 innings of relief work.

Milwaukee took back the lead in the eighth inning when Carlos Gomez walked, stole second and went to third on a throwing error. (He has to lead the league in this category, right?) He scored on a single by Corey Hart. Hart would score the go-ahead run on singles by Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.

The double header necessitated the appearance of some long-lost Brewers. Carlos Villanueva(!) pitched a scoreless seventh, followed by a scoreless eighth by Kam Loe and John Axford returned to form and sent the Mets down 1-2-3 in the ninth for his 23rd save.

When asked, Parra admitted to being a bit more relaxed on the mound since being moved to the pen. “It almost feels a little bit like irresponsible throwing ...”

In game two, Dave Bush was wickedly good in six scoreless innings, giving up four hits and three BBs. He was replaced by Mike McClendon, who gave up the only Mets run of the night.. Zach Braddock set the table for Trevor Hoffman(!) to pick up his 601st save.

Bush even got the offense started for Milwaukee by singling and scoring Alcides Escobar in the third inning off Mets knuckle baller R.A. Dickey. This would be the only run surrendered by Dickey in seven innings of work. In the eighth inning the Brewers got two insurance runs on a double by Ryan Braun.

As Braun suggested after the second game, it is supposed to rain in New York on Thursday, maybe they should have went ahead and played a third game. Let's play three!

Brewers 8, Mets 7
Brewers 3, Mets 1
Game played 9-29-10

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Adventures of the Ax

Tonight’s game went sort of like Mariah Carey’s performance in Singapore on Saturday night. Everything was pretty rocking good and then it went kaput.

The Brewers built a 2-0 lead on Tuesday night in New York behind another solid pitching performance by Randy Wolf. Lorenzo Cain doubled in Casey McGehee, who walked, in the fourth, and Corey Hart hit a solo shot to dead center in the sixth inning. Wolf cruised through the first five innings, giving up just two hits until he ran into some problems in the bottom of the sixth inning. Wolf gave up a two-out single to Lucas Duda, followed by a home run to David Wright that tied the score. Wolf would pitch a scoreless seventh before being relieved by Mike McClendon. All in all, a pretty good outing for Wolf.

Milwaukee untied the score in the eighth inning when Joe Inglett led off the inning with a double, was advanced to third on a ground out by Hart and scored on a ground out by Prince Fielder. I felt pretty positive after the Brewers manufactured that run as they have left 9,000, give or take a few, runners on third base this year. The Brewers pitching staff pitched around a lead-off double by the Mets in the eighth inning, with John Axford seemingly poised to collect yet another multi-inning save when he struck out Wright to end the eighth.

And then the Ax sort of bit it in the ninth. Unable to keep his fastball down, Axford gave up a lead off double to Ike Davis, a single to Josh Thole and the game-winning hit to Ruben Tejada in the ninth.
Mets 4, Brewers 3
Game played 9-28-10

Today is St. Wenceslas Day (Czech Statehood Day)-- On this day in 935, St. Wenceslas, Duke of Bohemia, now patron of the Czech State, was murdered by his brother. This seems like an odd day to celebrate but, hey, at least I didn’t fall on my ass today--like Mariah. I’m giving Axford a break. He’s been pretty rocking good this year.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Monday night's game with the Mets was postponed due to rain. There will be a double header on Wednesday. With the Packers on Monday Night Football, this actually makes my life a little less complicated.

Anyone else think Mike Martz looks a little bit like Ken Macha?

A Miller Park farewell

I don’t recall feeling this sad about a baseball game in a long time. Sure, losing in the playoffs to the Phillies in 2008 was sad but after the way the Brewers came back to take the Wild Card, I don’t remember being really sad—just disappointed that the season ended. Sunday’s 7-1 victory over the Florida Marlins pulled at more than a few of my heartstrings. Though nothing is official just yet, this game could go on record as the final game at Miller Park for Craig Counsell, Chris Capuano, Trevor Hoffman and Prince Fielder. Oh, and Ken Macha. 

Counsell got the start at shortstop and went 2-4, with a double. Capuano pitched six strong innings, giving up just one run before being pulled with a groin strain. Hoffman pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a non-save situation. And Prince, he went 1-3, with two walks. His lone hit was his 32nd home run of the year. After he walked in his final at-bat, he was pulled for a pinch runner, and received a standing ovation from the crowd and hugs from his teammates and coaches. Macha isn’t a very emotional manager but he seems to do these sorts of things up (like last year when he pulled Casey McGehee in the last game so he would be assured of batting .300 for the season).

I wonder if things will be awkward if we end up keeping Prince for all or part of the 2011 season. Sort of like breaking up with a boyfriend/girlfriend and then having him/her come back into the relationship like nothing happened. (Oh, sorry. I didn’t really break up with you, did I? I wouldn’t do that. I love you.”)

In the event we don’t get back together, Prince, Craig, Chris, Trevor, it was nice to spend time with you while you were here. Sometimes you disappointed me, often times you frustrated me, but I never hoped for anything but your success. (Of course, if you end up playing for the Twins or some other team that I hate, I will resent you for the rest of my life.)

(In July, if I had told you Ryan Braun would be the first Brewer to 100 RBI in 2010, would you have believed me? Two, two-run home runs and he’s at 100.)

Brewers 7, Marlins 1
Game played 9-26-10

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Top ten reasons for this loss

The Milwaukee Brewers were shutout 4-0 on Saturday night by the Florida Marlins. The 2010 team has been difficult to figure out sometimes so here’s a few explanations for the loss:

1. They didn’t want the 2009 team to feel bad. With the loss, the Brewers are 72-82 and have assured the ‘09 Crew that its 80-82 record will not be surpassed in 2010.

2. Lack of cool nicknames. Jersey Shore has MVP (Mike, Vinnie, Paulie), the Phillies have H2O (Hamels, Halliday, Oswalt). Nothing that cool has come out of Milwaukee this year. (And I am not counting the JS’s use of “Team Extreme” or “Team Freak” because I said cool nicknames.)

3. The Badgers used up all of the available offense in the State. The University of Wisconsin got out the whoopin’ stick against Austin Peay on Saturday afternoon. The 70 points the Badgers scored were their most ever in a single game “in the modern era.” Can’t be much offense left anywhere after that.

4. Ryan Braun was too busy preparing for deer hunting to get a hit (and inch closer to 200 hits). How else can you explain his finely defined beard?

5. The team felt sad because Sunday could be Prince’s last game in Miller Park in a Brewers uniform.

6. The team was too geeked up and was unable to focus because it could be Ken Macha’s last homestand.

7. The Crew said “screw it” when the fans started the wave in the eighth inning. (This one is for you, Kyle.)

8. Lorenzo Cain made only one incredible catch on Saturday night (crashing into the wall) and collected only two hits. This team needs more outta you, kid.

9. The fans demanded that Craig Counsell stay in the parking lot and tailgate with them, pushing back his entry into the game to the seventh inning. Likewise, John Axford used up his best stuff in the parking lot firing t-shirts at fans.

10. You don’t get to 10 games under .500 without not being so good on some nights. This was one of those nights.

Marlins 4, Brewers 0
Game played 9-25-10

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quite a road

I completed P90X this year. For those of you who don’t know, P90X is a 90-day at-home workout program. The X stands for extreme. (That sounds douche-y every time I see it.) My husband and I finished the program just prior to my 15-year college reunion. I roughly followed the eating plan for about 45 of the 90 days but then I decided that I was hungry and started eating everything in sight. My husband looks great, though.

I had knee surgery about four weeks after completing the program. It was my hope that P90X would help make my knee better but it didn’t so I went under the knife on July 1. My self-imposed recovery plan has been to watch the Brewers, drink beer and continue to eat everything in sight. Surprisingly it hasn’t been super successful--none of my clothes fit and my knee isn’t noticeably better. Begrudgingly, I’m trying to get back on the wagon--the P90X wagon. It’s hard to get started again; nearly every fiber of my being wants to stay nestled on the couch with a beer in my hand.

Which is why, what Chris Capuano and, now, Mark Rogers, have done is pretty darn special. As we all know by now, Capuano came back from his second Tommy John surgery this year after missing the entire 2008 and 2009 seasons. Rogers, while in the minor leagues, underwent surgery in 2006 for a torn labrum. He missed the entire 2007 season and had a second surgery to remove scar tissue. He went on to miss the entire 2008 season, too. When he finally was healthy enough to pitch in 2009, he started in Brevard County (A Advanced league). On Friday night, Rogers made his first major league start against the Florida Marlins. That’s quite a road.

Rogers looked every bit like a rookie making his first start when when he loaded the bases by hitting a batter and walking two in the first inning. But he used his 97 MPH fastball to strikeout the side and got out of it with no damage. The next two innings went much more smoothly. In all, Rogers went three innings and gave up no runs on no hits. He walked two and struck out four.

Fellow rookies Jeremy Jeffress (2 innings), Mike McClendon (1.2 innings) and Zach Braddock (.1) came in to give up just one run, while the offense built a 4-1 lead through seven innings. Kam Loe and Trevor Hoffman (Trevor Hoffman!) would close out the eighth and ninth innings and Milwaukee would tack on two more runs for the 6-2 victory. (Hoffman gave up one run in the ninth.) Jeffress would be credited with the win, his first.

Regarding those even-number milestones: Casey McGehee went 3-4 but failed to drive in any runs and remains at 99 RBI. Ryan Braun went 2-4 and collected three RBI. He now has 182 hits and 96 RBI. Corey Hart also has 96 RBI.
Brewers 6, Marlins 2
Game played 9-25-10

Friday, September 24, 2010

Unwritten Rule No. 14

Apparently there is an unwritten rule in baseball regarding your September call-ups:  Even if you are not in a playoff race, if you are playing a team that is in one, you must field your “A” team. (See Giants and Reds series.)  If you are not, and are playing the Florida Marlins (76-76, 15.5 GB), for example, then it is acceptable to play whoever you want, wherever you want.

Based partially on the fact that Ryan Braun sat out due to an elbow contusion, the Brewers mixed things up a little bit on Thursday night—but ended up with the same result. For the second game in a row, Milwaukee came out slugging, defeating the Marlins 8-3 behind home runs by Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder. Hart’s was his thirtieth of the year.

The line-up featured Lorenzo Cain in the leadoff spot, with Weeks batting third. Mat Gamel got a start in left field and Luis Cruz started at shortstop.  Of the three rookies, Cruz was the most impressive, collecting two hits, including a triple for his first major league hit.  Gamel, who has limited experience in the outfield, especially in left, made a nice running catch but left the game in the sixth inning when he was hit in the foot by a pitch. He struck out twice before being replaced by Carlos Gomez. 

Sandy Rosario made his debut for the Marlins in the seventh inning and Weeks took his first pitch out of the park. Fielder followed with another home run. Of all the rookies who found playing time in this game, Rosario probably had the most memorable night. But probably not in the way that he hoped it would be memorable.

Yovani Gallardo cruised through the first six innings before running into a little trouble in the seventh inning. He would eventually give up 3 earned runs in the inning. On the night he went 6.2 innings and gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out nine.

On Friday, the Brewers will give rookie Mark Rogers a start. It’s that time of year.

Brewers 8, Marlins 3
Game played 9-23-10

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And it exploded*

Tonight the “it” was the Brewers offense. Milwaukee exploded for eight runs in the second inning off of Reds starter Johnny Cueto and Randy Wolf turned in another solid performance to lead the Brewers to a 13-1 victory on Wednesday night.

The offensive stats were staggering, especially considering the Brewers recent offensive woes. I won’t recount them all here except to say that Craig Counsell hit his second home run of the year in the second inning, a three-run shot. Corey Hart added a two-run shot in the third inning. On the night, the Brewers scored 13 runs on 19 hits and went 8-21 with runners in scoring position. They loaded the bases in each of the first five innings.

Ryan Braun collected two more hits tonight for a total of 180. It will remain to be seen if this is it for 2010, as Braun was nailed in the elbow with a Sam LeCure pitch in the fifth inning. (Not again!) Macha said that he thought that Braun was fine and that it was just an elbow contusion. Let's wait and see how it feels in the morning.

On a personal note, I helped the Minnesota Twins set a single-season attendance record today. (Hmmm… they're winning and they don’t play in the Dome anymore. Go figure.) I want you all to know, however, that I wore my Brewers hat to the game and I will never get on that bandwagon. EVER.
I had eyes only for the CIN v. MIL match-up on the board.  

Target Field is OK. I guess if I liked
the Twins I would think it was cooler.

Brewers 13, Reds 1
Game played 9-22-10

* Name that movie!
Ted: But the animal is inside out.
Jason Nesmith: I heard that! It turned inside out?
[the pig-lizard explodes]
Ted: And it exploded.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Smirnoff Wild Grape leaves a bad taste in your mouth

The last time I went to Miller Park I picked up a six pack of Smirnoff Wild Grape for my brother, Nick. He doesn’t drink beer. I don’t really understand it but I know plenty of cool people who don’t like beer so I was happy to pick up something for him that he likes. He ended up being our sober cab that night so he didn’t drink other than the two he had in the parking lot before the game. Four of these bottles were left in my cooler and eventually ended up in my ‘fridge.

Because we were out of beer, and I like to enjoy an ice cold beverage while I watch the Brewers, I decided to try one of the Smirnoffs. The first sip wasn’t bad. It tasted like a cross between grape soda and a Smartie. After drinking about a third of it, I decided it was terrible.

“This is gross,” I told Seth. He urged me to stop drinking and dump it out. “But I can’t. I opened it so I should finish it,” I said. For some reason, I felt the need to finish it. I'm not a quitter. I choked it down vowing to never drink another one ever again.

This game had to be choked down, too. The first sip wasn’t bad. It was scoreless after one. But then Jim Edmonds unloaded on a 2-1 pitch in the second inning to give the Reds a lead they would never relinquish. A second Reds run scored in the second inning on a Chris Heisey bloop single. Bloop hits by the opposing team make me feel empty inside.

The Reds tacked on two additional runs, both unearned, in the third inning. With one out, Orlando Cabrera hit a shot at Prince Fielder that hit his glove and skipped through his legs. After getting the second out, Chris Dickeson slipped while going back on a fly ball and it landed for a double for Scott Rolen, scoring Cabrera. Rolen would score on a single by Cairo.

The Brewers were equally ineffective on offense for most the game, hitting into four double plays. Milwaukee collected only two hits in the first five innings and both were erased on double plays. The Brewers scored their first run of the game on a double play ball from Mat Gamel in the sixth.

This game was looking like a big bottle of Smirnoff Wild Grape until the bottom on the ninth when Milwaukee staged a little rally. With two on and two out, Casey McGehee singled to right. The single ended up scoring two runs when Jay Bruce misplayed the ball in the outfield and Cordero made a throwing error. The comeback died, however, when Carlos Gomez struck out.

Ugh. I can still taste that grape soda-Smartie-like thing. Gross.

Reds 4, Brewers 3
Game played 9-21-10

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rick Peterson’s wearing the hell out of those pants and other baseball fashions

Wearing your drink holder is so this season. 
Hang with ‘em Brewers! welcomes guest blogger, Megan. All season Megan has questioned the fashion sense of today’s major leaguer, generally, and Rick Peterson, specifically. Today she channeled her inner Joan Rivers (Fashion Police) to share her thoughts with us. Hang on kids, you’re in for a snarky good time. (Apparently she also captured my random rants. Sorry.)

I too have my skinny pants on, Rick, just for you. Megan here, Rachel’s younger sister, guest blogging for today’s game. I don’t get to watch many Brewers games, as I am also a Brewer fan amongst the Twins nation (who are even more obnoxious now that they are making the playoffs), and I do not have the same dedication that Rachel has to buy Extra Innings and watch. I do watch games here and there and try to make it to Miller Park at least once every season. I don’t think my boyfriend, Ben, would tolerate it as well as Seth either, granted he could probably disappear into the interwebs (he’s pretty good with the internets) and forget that I am watching baseball for any length of time.

Anyway, back to baseball fashion 2010. What is going on with those stupid hemp-baseball-looking necklaces? Is this “in dedication” of anything? That’s a pretty crummy dedication.  It looks like to two shoelaces twisted together. Lame. Go back to the guido-looking gold chains, please.

TATTOOS, granted baseball players are a little late to the party, behind basketball and football players, the art is just as questionable. Rock & BA just commented on the arrow on the forearm of Red’s pitcher, Homer Bailey, stating it will be “sagging” in the future and possibly pointing in a whole new direction. But neck tattoos are the worst! Nothing says, “I’m planning for the future” like a good neck tattoo. It’s probably a sign that they are a shitty parent; can’t show up to a dance recital, but the fact that your kids’ name is on your neck TOTALLY makes up for it.

And your full arm sleeves really let me know how hardcore you really are.

Rachel “You (Gomez) have to f@cking score this run.” (He did not end up scoring, despite taking third with no outs.)

And the tat, or should I say that ink scribble, your friend gave you when you were 16, with questionable methods, please get it removed. Newsflash, you’re a pro athlete and you have the money now. The uniform is a bit limiting to showing (off) their tats, but there are some out there that are tasteful.

Off of the field, please leave your Ed Hardy Smedium-sized shirts at home. Only women and children should wear anything with rhinestones, glitter, or sheen on them. (That means you too, Ryan Braun, even if you’re my sister’s summer BF.) Unless you’re a guido, I guess that‘s acceptable. The rhinestones just go with your orange skin and muscles. FIST PUMP!

On to the pants. I know Rick got the memo that skinny jeans, jeggings, and leggings are still hot this season, however, I don’t think baseball pants are on that list. Granted, I think Rick has been wearing those moose-knuckle (yes, that’s camel toe for men if you didn’t already know, also known in Urban Dictionary as “f@ck boys”) inducing pants for a long time, even during the grunge era. Maybe that’s just his form of birth control.

“Noooo, it’s Homer Bailey! Why can’t you get a hit?” (as Corey Hart strikes out.) Fist-Bump - Braun hits a double to score Weeks and ties it at 2.

Or maybe it’s like that woman or man in your office that will never stop wearing the high-waisted, tapered acid-wash jeans (although sometimes they complete the Canadian Tux with a jean jacket). They’re nice, but they’ll never trade those in for a nice, dark-wash, bootcut pair. Rick, I hope you change your ways and trade that size 27 pants for 29’s in the future, but I’m not holding my breath. Well, I guess we can taunt him with our familiar chant “Hey Rick Peterson, YOUR PANTS ARE UNREASONABLY TIGHT!”

Joe West (cowboy?) eyes up Votto and nearly tosses him after calling strike 3 in the top of the 6th. Wow, my sister knows the Umps names. She is really into this. (She was taunting Angel, the first base ump, by mispronouncing his name)

“Go f@ck yourself, Stubbs!” - Rachel
“Hey Stubbs, is that what your wife calls it too?!” – Seth (Stubbs caught Escobar’s hit at the track. Heckling is the most pure form of cheering.)

“I don’t like this version of Kameron Loe.” - Rachel, after back-to-back home runs during the top of the 8th.

Where’s the drunk sombrero guy? He’s got good fashion sense.

“Swing the f@cking bat, asshole.” - Rachel as Bruce gets walked.

Bring out the rally caps. I’m not sure if I feel strongly about the rally hat. (Ooooo Rick Peterson sighting, shoulder rub, a few words, and some claps. He might have a mullet going on, I suppose it is to match his tight pants. Makes sense.) Back to the rally cap. I know I would never wear one sober. But I think it’s a good sign of faith by the fans, but heckling is better.

I don’t suppose there is any better fashion that winning, which the Brewer’s failed to do this evening. And I’m up past my bedtime. Damn.

Reds 5, Brewers 2
Game played 9-20-10

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stick a fork (or splintered bat) in ‘em

Today did not go all that well for the Brewers. After two stellar games against the San Francisco Giants, the Brewers could not stop the Giants bats for a third day, and fell 9-2. The loss officially ended Milwaukee’s playoff chances. The Brewers are 14 back of the Reds and Cincinnati has only 12 games to play.

The game turned on a first inning ball three call. Chris Narveson had gotten into some trouble and had runners on first and third with two outs. Pat Burrell was at the plate and worked the count to 2-2. He took a pitch that was right down the middle, just above the knees and it was called a ball. Fox Trax showed it to be a strike. It wasn’t even a borderline strike. It was sort of a meatball. Burrell would eventually walk and the next batter, Jose Guillen, hit a grand slam. After that, Milwaukee failed to rally and handed Barry Zito his first win in two months.  

Ryan Braun provided most of the highlights for the Brewers. He climbed the wall in left field to rob Cody Ross of a home run in the first. Later Braun would hit a two-run home run in the sixth.

Even though it was a bad day for the Brewers, it could have been worse. Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin was struck by a splinter off the bat of teammate Welington Castillo. Castro was on third base and was running toward home when the broken bat speared him. Colvin is in stable condition and should make a full recovery, fortunately. As he did not turn into a pile of dust, I'm pretty sure that Colvin is not a vampire.

And Brett Farve threw three interceptions for the 0-2 Vikings. Farve's day seems like something worse, too. (I am lighting a candle right now to ward off the bad karma I may have just brought to the Packers.)

Giants 9, Brewers 2
Game played 9-19-10

Rising to the level of your opponents

Sometimes when you compete with a better team, they batter you. At the end, everyone knows that the better team won. We all remember that four-game series with the Giants back in July in Milwaukee. Game No. 1 of the series had me contemplating having a baby so I would have something to do besides watch baseball. Game No. 2 was when I admitted, in writing, to lowering my expectations for the Brewers season. Game No. 3 was the game where the fans gave the Brewers a standing ovation for cutting the deficit to 13 runs. Oh, and Game No. 4 capped off a five-game losing streak in style, a 9-3 loss.

Other times, you rise to the level of your opponent and, for just a minute, it feels like you are good team, too. You, too, are in the middle of a pennant race.

“It’s been phenomenal,” Axford said of beating the Giants for the second time in two nights. “It’s great to step up to the quality of this team.”

Much like when Napoleon Dynamite rose to the occasion and danced Pedro into the class presidency, the entire Brewers team came together and earned a well-fought victory against two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum, 2-1, on Saturday night. The win knocked the Giants out of first place in the NL West.

Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo stepped up, giving up just one run on five hits and one walk in seven innings. He struck out six.

The Brewers got to Lincecum in the fourth inning with back-to-back-to-back one-out singles from Prince Fielder, Casey McGehee and Carlos Gomez. Alcides Escobar grounded into a fielder’s choice that forced Fielder at the plate, but Jonathan Lucroy came through big time when his soft liner fell in right field scoring both McGehee and Gomez. Lucroy also threw out Mike Fontenot at second to end the first inning.

Lincecum, meanwhile, was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning. Having gotten shut out by Randy Wolf on Friday night and having scored two runs or fewer in their last eight games, Giants manager Bruce Bochy used pinch hitter Nick Schlerholtz when San Francisco got runners on the corners with one out. Schlerholtz would walk to load the bases. The Giants scored on a fielder’s choice but Gallardo got out of the mess by enticing Jose Uribe to pop out to short.

Also pitching in were Kam Loe, with a perfect eighth inning, and John Axford, with three strikeouts in the ninth, for save number 22. Even home plate umpire C.B. Buckner helped the cause with a puzzling strike call against Aubrey Huff. Gosh, it sure was a nice win. 

Brewers 2, Giants 1
Game played 9-18-10

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Follow that link again

One last recap over at Brew Crew Ball for Friday night's game.

Has anyone seen Trevor Hoffman lately? I haven't.

Brewers 3, Giants 0
Game played 9-17-10

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Follow the link

I'm blogging for BrewCrewBall today. Check out my recap of today's Brewers-Astros game.

On a side note, today in line at the bank, the guy in front of me had on a Doug Mientkiewicz Twins jersey. My friend Chris used to fight with Twins fans about bringing up some kid named Justin Morneau. But Mientkiewicz plays really good defense, they said. Chris 1, Twins fans 0

My teller's name was Soda Pop. Seriously. That's what the name plate said. This all happened at the bank. You can't make this stuff up.

Brewers 8, Astros 6
Game played 9-15-10

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It’s random thoughts day!

It sucks to lose to the Astros--again. The youthful Astros appear to have something to prove, however, and haven’t mailed in the second half. Since Houston dealt Lance Berkman to the Yankees on August 1 and Roy Oswalt to the Phillies on July 29, the Astros have gone 28-16, and are now 70-75 overall. They could finish at .500.

The face of the 'Stros
Hunter Pence's face. Rock and BA declared Hunter Pence to be the “new face of the Astros.” I strongly urge Houston to re-think this. 

F@ck Hunter Pence! watch. If you don’t follow Hunter Pence on Twitter, you should. I know that I just made fun of him above, but this guy puts himself out there. If you want an inside look into the life of an MLB player, this is your ticket. From a recent interview with The Crawfish Boxes, the Astros SB Nation site, about his Facebook and Twitter accounts:

“I mainly set it up so I can interact with fans and get out there more.  I also wanted to give away some stuff.  It’s all about connecting with the fan base.  I didn’t realize how much fun it would be until after I got started.  The fans are a big help, like when I need recommendations for a restaurant in a city.  It’s also encouraging to get the support from the fans.  It’s a real confidence-booster.  I read everything I get.  Also, when I see the fans at the game, it makes me feel closer to them. The Astros have also been great at supporting it.  They have their own Twitter and Facebook pages, but they are obviously excited to have a player on there talking to fans as well,” Pence said.
I am pointing this out because I believe that the Brewers still have a strict rule forbidding players from speaking with blogs AND because I find his attitude sort of refreshing. I don’t think this is disingenuous, either. I think this is really how he is. [This rule is the only thing keeping Ryan Braun from sitting down with me. Really.]

Who is this Carlos Gonzalez guy and why haven’t I cared about him before? In just his third year in the bigs, Gonzalez is leading the NL in batting average, hits and total bases. He is fourth in home runs and third in RBI. He has a .983 OPS and a WAR of 4.7. I’m impressed, but this guy doesn't think I should be. Something to do with offensive stats in Colorado being skewed. 

Ryan Braun’s quest for 200 hits marches on (even if I’m the only person who cares). Braun collected two more hits tonight, including a home run, for a total of 171. With 18 games to play, he needs 29 hits or just over 1.6 hits per game. ESPN projects him to finish with 193 hits. I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet but J.A. Happ and some tough Giants pitchers loom on the horizon.  

Astros 3, Brewers 2
Game played 9-14-10

    Giving up?

    Chris Narveson and Brett Myers were locked in a pitcher’s duel in the opening game of the three-game Brewers-Astros series. After giving up a run in the first inning, Narveson settled down and held the Astros scoreless through six innings. Myers lone miscue was a lead-off home run by Corey Hart in the fourth inning. With the game tied 1-1, Milwaukee pinch hit for Narveson in the top of the seventh inning. The Brewers brought in rookie Brandon Kintzler in relief of Narveson. It was Kintzler’s second appearance since being called up on September 7. He had given up one hit in 1.1 innings to the Cubs on Friday.

    Kintzler gave up a lead-off single to Geoff Blum, who was sacrificed to second. He then walked Jeff Keppinger before striking out Hunter Pence. With two on and two out, Kintzler gave up back-to-back singles to make it a 3-1 game, and, then after an intentional walk, gave up an unintentional walk, to give the Astros a 4-1 lead. At this point, Macha brought in Todd Coffey, who got the third out of the inning.
    Milwaukee would get one run back in the top of the eighth and a lead-off pinch-hit double from Lorenzo Cain in the ninth. But, being down two, the Brewers did not sacrifice Cain to third. Instead, the Brewers hit three fly balls to end the game.

    If Milwaukee was in a pennant race, Kintzler doesn’t pitch in that spot. The only race the Brewers are in, however, is for third place in the Central, so this is a good pressure situation in which to give Kintzler experience. Kintzler got into a little bit of trouble but there was no reason to take him out after striking out Pence. He had a realistic shot at getting out of the inning. But he didn’t. He went on to give up back-to-back singles. Yet, Kintzler was left in—and it wasn’t because there was a lack of available arms in the bullpen. Kintzler faced Wallace, who he intentionally walked, and then Manzella.

    Macha left Kintzler in too long. Coffey (or Jeffress or Rogers or Villenueva) should have faced Manzella. I don’t know if Macha honestly believed that Kintzler would get out of it or if he wanted to see if he could. Maybe he thought that we were already down 3-1 so ‘what the hell?’ It felt a lot like giving up to me. Obviously, the Astros may have played things differently if they would have scored two that inning, instead of three, so I know that this is complete speculation—but the Brewers could have been down 3-2 with a lead-off runner on second in the ninth.

    I haven’t always agreed with Macha’s pitching decisions, but this one seems especially egregious to me. 

    Astros 4, Brewers 2
    Game played 9-13-10

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Obituaries and baseball: Be sure to do what you love

    There was a moment during my Grandmother’s memorial service where I made a very audible sobbing sound and gasped for air. I was trying to share something that I had written to my Grandmother when she was alive. The grandchildren’s written words were her Christmas gift one year. Of course, my sister Alice had kept a copy of this tribute to our Grandmother. Alice is super organized.  I needed to keep it together so I choked back the sob, which caused me to make  a high pitched squealing sound, sighed deeply and finished my reading. Seth told me that I should just let it out if that was what I was feeling but I didn’t want to lose it in a room full of people. My Grandmother passed away on March 25, 2009. I miss her.

    This weekend I attended a memorial service for a friend from college. We were not great friends but she was a good person and we had a lot in common. We served on our college’s booster club board of directors together and we were both lawyers.  There were several points during the service where I wanted the service to end. I just couldn’t take the sadness anymore. Some people may find the tributes and slide show of photos cathartic. I looked out the window to keep it together. I don’t like to hurt that much. I’m the kind of person who likes to feel unpleasant things quickly, if at all, and then move on.

    I’ve pretty much mailed in my last couple of blog posts (although you absolutely should read David Foster Wallace). I haven’t felt a lot like writing. I could blame it on a heavy heart or getting shut out by the Cubs in back-to-back games. The season is pretty much over. The games are pretty meaningless. It would be easy to say that compared to death, the games don’t really seem all that important. But that’s not true at all. Death makes these games even more important because baseball is something that I love—and doing what I love, now, while I am alive is the most important thing that I could do. I hope that when I die my obituary says: “Rachel loved watching the Milwaukee Brewers, even though she sometimes threw things at the TV when they failed to score a runner from third with less than two outs.”

    Sometimes it is important to remember why I watch the games and why I write about them.

    The Brewers finally scored a run against the Cubs on Sunday, and it came in a familiar way—Yovani Gallardo.  (Top notch analysis of Gallardo’s hitting here and here.) Gallardo doubled to center field to lead off the fifth inning and eventually scored when Ryan Braun blooped in a double to right field with two out. Casey McGehee added an insurance run with a solo shot in the eighth inning. Gallardo pitched pretty well, too. He went seven innings and gave up just four hits and no runs. John Axford got the final four outs to collect his 21st save.

    Brewers 2, Cubs 0
    Game played 9-13-10

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Something better

    The stated purpose of my blog was to watch every Milwaukee Brewers game and write something about it. So far, so good. I've watched every game that has been on TV and I've written something for each game (even the ones I didn't actually get to watch). It's a long season, and sometimes I don't write the most interesting things.  Instead of writing something that isn't all that interesting about a game that wasn't all that interesting, I'm going to recommend something that I read that I really liked. I found it to be an interesting take on the mind of the professional athlete.

    I highly recommend the essay "How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart" by David Foster Wallace. It was originally published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and later as part of the book Consider the Lobster and Other Essays.

    Cubs 1, Brewers 0
    Game played 9-11-10

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Shoring up the team

    This is so frustrating. I watch and I want to throw things at the TV.


    WHY is Sammi back together with Ronnie? Seriously. He was hooking up with girls at the club and then crawling into bed with her when he got home. And, somehow, instead of kicking Ronnie to the curb, Sammi got mad at Jenni and Snookie for telling her about Ronnie’s infidelities. So frustrating.

    You thought I was talking about the Brewers getting shut out by the Cubs on Friday night? Hardly. Jersey Shore is way more frustrating than getting three-hit by Carlos Zambrano. Way more frustrating than falling behind on a couple of throwing errors. Way more frustrating than when Zambrano killed the Brewers best chance to score when he made a lucky defensive play.

    Sammi, Ronnie is making you look like a fool.

    It's hard to keep watching. 

    Cubs 4, Brewers 0
    Game played 9-10-10

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Finishing up 2010 in style

    Fan tip of the game: Don't do this--but if you must, please wear the proper foundation garments.

    Here we are at game number 139 of the season. Last night, we had a fan tossed for hurling some gay grenades at Yadier Molina. Tonight we had some guys who dressed in green suits and ... well, you can see the problem. (And I thought Chris Snyder's pants were unreasonably tight.)  Let's try to class things up the rest of the way, Wisconsin. I like to drink as much as the next person but some lines should not be crossed.

    Ryan Braun collected his 163rd and 164th hits of the season with a single and home run as the Brewers  clobbered the Cardinals 8-1 at Miller Park on Wednesday night. It was Braun's 20th home run of the season, making him one of five Brewers with 20+ home runs this season. Seven of the eight runs came against Cardinals rookie sensation Jaime Garcia. Chris Capuano went seven innings, giving up just one run on four hits and no walks over seven innings, to pick up his third victory of the season.

    Brewers 8, Cardinals 1
    Game played 9-8-10


    What do Ken Macha, Dave Duncan, Chris Dickerson and some random fan in camo pants have in common?

    None of them got to witness Trevor Hoffman’s 600th career save.

    Hoffman earned his major-league leading 600th career save on Tuesday night when he retired three batters in the ninth inning to preserve a 4-2 victory over St. Louis.  Hoffman gave up a leadoff single to Colby Rasmus, but Rasmus was erased quickly on a double play off the bat of pinch hitter Randy Winn. Hoffman then got Aaron Miles on a grounder to Craig Counsell at short to record the historic save. (My friend Chris once said of Randy Winn: “You know how any player whose last name is Black is always white and any player whose last name is White is always black—well, that explains Randy Winn.”)

    Macha, Duncan, Dickerson and the fan were all ejected, and all but Macha, by home plate umpire Bob Davidson. Seriously, Davidson tossed a fan. He was cantankerous and then some. Chris Narveson pitched seven strong innings, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out 9, to put the Brewers in position to win. Carlos Villanueva and John Axford pitched the eighth to set the table for Hoffman’s save.

    As someone who has watched every game this year, it was nice to feel a playoff like intensity for an inning—with a celebration to match. No, the Brewers are not going to make the playoffs this year. It was nice to forget that for a few minutes and cheer like crazy for Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman is easy to root for—he has handled this year with an amazing amount of class. Getting 600 was way harder than anyone could have imagined. It was hard to watch him fail. It was hard to see that sign in left field. But moments like tonight’s don’t happen often, especially in Milwaukee, so it is important to take it in and enjoy it. Relish it, even. Celebrate with a beer. 

    After the save, the Brewers had a nice on-field presentation for Hoffman, where Doug Melvin and Macha presented Trevor with a painting of him pitching in Miller Park. Apparently noticing Macha struggling to hold up the painting, Trevor asked Ken if the painting was heavy before rescuing him and taking it out of his hands. Macha still old, Hoffman still considerate, even after 600 saves. And that’s more saves than anyone, EVER. 

    Brewers 4, Cardinals 2
    Game played 9-7-10

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Back to School – Baseball Edition

    Grill master, Nick
    Guest blogger Nick Hable is a lifelong Brewers fan and frequent tailgater. When he's not watching the Brewers or reading this blog, he can be found teaching math and science to the youth of Mauston, where he also serves as the head soccer coach. Nick agreed to attend today's game against the Cardinals and document his thoughts for Hang with 'em Brewers! [This guest blog thing is awesome.]

    Rachel is running out of things to blog about, so she is tapping some guest bloggers over the last month of the season.  As I am not a trained journalist, or for that matter very good at writing (straight B/C English student here), forgive the bad prose.  Then again this is the internet, so maybe that puts me in the upper echelons. 

    As many of you know, school starts in September.  I have three days done already.  I am amazed at how school brings down the stress level in my life.  This past summer I agreed to do many things.  I chose to teach three weeks of summer school, coach a JV boys summer basketball team, officiated about 50 basketball games, and took a two-week summer class.  This was all before July 31st.  Soccer started the following week and I was off and running for the 2010-11 school year.  For having the summer off, I was looking forward to starting school again to have a little less to do. 

    This all brings me to the theme of today’s blog…how little things can change your whole day.  As a teacher, my day can be going along great, and a little thing like the copier being out of staples can ruin my day.  For the Brewers, it was a wild pitch tying the game.  Teachers deal with an unexpected fire drill interrupting class, or the Brewers have an error, extending an inning.  Things can be going along as well as can be (Gallardo pitching 7 strong innings), and all of a sudden your class goes off on a tangent.  Things I have seen before (Coffey giving up hits and homeruns) can lead to a familiar place, Brewers playing from behind in the 8th and 9th

    The fireworks can still go off at the end of the class (Hart hits his 2nd HR to cut it to two runs in the 9th) even if the class (game) doesn’t end as expected.  Even though the Brewers didn’t win, a game still can be fun to watch.  This one was.  Even though school isn’t fun every day, I still love to watch what happens. 

    This game will close out my games I attend for the 2010 season.  I ended up 4-4 (1-3 vs. the Cardinals), .500 like I hope the Brewers can get to this season.  I am a teacher, and hope runs eternal…even if history doesn’t support it.

    Cardinals 8, Brewers 6
    Game played 9-6-10

    'You wouldn't get a positive outcome if you brought Connie Mack or John McGraw back to life and made him manager of the Brewers'

    The eighth inning began with John Axford on the mound. Behind Prince Fielder's 30th home run of the year and a strong pitching performance by Randy Wolf, Milwaukee held a 5-2 lead.

    Zach Braddock had gotten the final out of the seventh inning in relief of Wolf and then Ken Macha went to Axford. The two most likely scenarios were that Axford would go for another multi-innings save or Hoffman would pitch the ninth inning and go for his 600th save--in Philadelphia. Macha had said that he was more concerned with winning than getting Hoffman his 600th save in Milwaukee, but clearly, the Brewers have used Hoffman with an eye toward that milestone. And, if the milestone is important enough to keep Hoffman on the roster, then it is important enough to attempt to get number 600 at home.

    This was just another example of the decisions Macha has had to make in regard to the Brewers pitching staff. By continually failing to post quality starts, the starting rotation has forced Macha to go to the bullpen early and often. And, once Macha finds a pitcher who can shut down opponents, he uses that player until "things go sour" and then he looks for another arm in the bullpen to eat up innings. On Sunday, the Brewers needed an arm to eat up the eighth inning and there wasn't one that Macha trusted so he went to the Ax again. There is a limit to how often Kam Loe can pitch.

    Tom Haudricourt used Wednesday's game in Cincinnati to illustrate this point. Chris Narveson pitched well and held a 1-0 lead going into the seventh inning. After a lead-off double, Macha pulled him. And then the bullpen failed. Haudricourt argued that Doug Melvin has put Macha in an impossible situation by failing to provide adequate starting pitching. And this lack of pitching has made Macha look bad.

    On this day, Axford stopped the Phillies--for two innings--and the Brewers were able to salvage the final game of the three-game series.

    Brewers 6, Phillies 2
    Game played 9-5-10

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    In celebration of facial hair

    Have two opposing players, who lead the league in caveman jokes, ever hit home runs in the same game? Oddly, I could not find this category on

    Milwaukee's Corey Hart and Philadelphia's Jayson Werth have more in common than just questionable facial hair, however. In seven seasons, Hart has a .274 BA with 92 HRs and a .807 OPS. (Hart played in  one game in 2004.) Werth is three years older than Hart but missed the entire 2006 season with injuries. In eight seasons, Werth has a .271 BA, with 113 HRs and an .844 OPS. In 2010, Werth has a 4.5 WAR compared to 2.5 for Hart.

    The two right fielders were rumored to be on the trading block this summer but while Hart signed a three-year extension, Werth has not re-signed with the Phillies and will be a free agent after this season.

    Hart who decided to return to the clean-shaven look after signing the big contract, hit two home runs against Roy Halladay, one in the third inning and one in the seventh inning. Both were solo shots. Jayson Werth managed only one home run, also a solo shot, in the second inning. Prince Fielder and Alcides Escobar also homered for Milwaukee. It was the first time in Halladay's career that he has given up four home runs in  game.

    Despite the long balls, the Brewers lost this one when Ryan Braun's throw to home on a sac fly got by Jonathan Lucroy and allowed the go-ahead run to score. Two runs, one sac fly. A new way to lose.

    Phillies 5, Brewers 4
    Game played 9-4-10

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Tell-Tale Heart

    Friday night is poker night. I caught the first inning and a half before heading over to our weekly game. They watch the Twins at the poker game so I TiVo’ed the Brewers so I could watch the rest of the game when I got home.

    I did OK in poker, finishing in the middle of the pack. My husband took all my chips when his flush beat my flush. Don’t think I didn’t throw a little bit of a tantrum. Aren’t all flushes created equal?

    As the Twins fell behind early in the game against Texas, my friend Andy said, “Sometimes it’s really hard to watch the Twins.” To which I said: “Yes, being in first place is really hard. I don’t know how you do it.” Of course, the Twins rallied and won 4-3. Really, just so painful to watch ...

    When I got home, I watched the game. Immediately, I was greeted by the outfield miscue that would lead to the Phillies only run of the night. Shane Victorino hit a lazy fly ball between Ryan Braun and Lorenzo Cain, which both seemed to call for, but neither went for, as it fell for a lead-off double. Victorino would eventually score on two infield ground outs.

    And that’s really it, folks. Chris Capuano rebounded from a tough outing against the Pirates to give up just the one run over five innings. Kam Loe pitched the seventh and eighth innings and John Axford the ninth. Neither allowed a base runner. Milwaukee, meanwhile, could do nothing against Cole Hamels. The Brewers managed to get just four players in scoring position all night. Milwaukee’s best chance to tie the score came in the seventh inning. The Brewers had runners on first and second with no one out but failed to even advance that runner to third base.

    By the time I finished watching the game, it was after 1 a.m. All I wanted to do was crawl in bed and sleep. I would do my blog tomorrow. I was a loser all around tonight. Just as I was drifting off, the smoke detector made that sharp little whistle it makes when its battery is low. And then I drifted back to sleep, and then it shrieked again. How the hell did Seth sleep through this? Why didn’t he get up and fix it? I can’t fix it now because I will wake him up. It periodically went off throughout the night and every time it went off, I woke up and saw the baseball fall between Braun and Cain. Thump-thump. My personal Tell-Tale Heart.  You want pain, Twins fans? This is pain!

    Phillies 1, Brewers 0
    Game played 9-3-10